TN planning staggered exit from lockdown?

When some of his counterparts requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the national lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus during the video conference meeting on Monday, Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami remained noncommittal.

According to reports, there was no mention of extension or otherwise in the letter he sent to Modi soon after the conference. He confined himself to seeking funds and PCR kits for more aggressive testing in his state.

This indicates that the Tamil Nadu government is planning a staggered exit from lockdown. On Monday, Tamil Nadu recorded 52 fresh cases, taking its Covid-19 tally to 1,937. In the last video conference on April 11, the CM had sought two weeks’ extension of the lockdown.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday told the Chief Ministers that while the lockdown following the COVID-19 outbreak had yielded “positive results” and that the country had managed to “save thousands of lives in the past one and a half months” the danger of the virus was far from over and “constant vigilance is of paramount importance”.

A week before the scheduled end date of the lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to at least six Chief Ministers for the fourth time since the COVID-19 outbreak on the exit strategy from the lockdown, among other things.

“We saw a two-stage lockdown, with strict measures in the first phase and then some relaxations in the second. Good work has been done in the states,” PM Modi told the CMs.

The PM said: “Efforts of states should now be directed towards converting the red zones into orange and thereafter to green zones. We have to be brave and bring in reforms that touch the lives of common citizens.”